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Ethereum Foundation alongside zkSync allocates $900K for ZK Layer 2 development



The Ethereum Foundation, alongside Aztec, Polygon, Scroll, Taiko, and zkSync has announce the launch of the first ZK Grants Round. This grants initiative aims to enhance the Zero-Knowledge (ZK) Layer 2 Ecosystem, with a total shared prize pool of $900,000. 

According to the Foundation, each contributor, including the Ethereum Foundation, raised $150,000 to support research and development for ZK proofs and standards.

The Ethereum Foundation (EF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting Ethereum and related technologies. Established in 2014, the EF aims to promote Ethereum and related technologies without controlling or leading them. Instead, the EF serves as one component of a broader ecosystem. 

The EF focuses on initiatives such as the Ecosystem Support Program, which provides both financial and non-financial support to projects and entities within the wider Ethereum community. 

A zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) is a cryptographic method used to prove knowledge about a piece of data without revealing the data itself. It allows one party (the prover) to convince another party (the verifier) that a claim is true without disclosing any information other than the fact that the claim is true.

ZKPs are used to provide privacy guarantees and are employed in various blockchain use cases, such as identity management, authentication, and private transactions.

According to a report from Protocol Labs, the zero-knowledge proof market is anticipated to generate $75 million in revenue by 2024 and is expected to surpass $10 billion by 2030. The report further highlights a projection of almost 90 billion zero-knowledge proofs being needed for web3 applications alone in the year 2030.

Application dates and deadlines for the funding

Ethereum Foundation also noted in the announcement that interested parties are invited to submit proposals by 11:59 UTC on March 18th, 2024. These projects can be in various stages of development, including ideas, proof-of-concepts, work in progress, and fleshed-out projects. 

The focus of development includes enhancing multi-prover systems for validity, ZK, and fraud proof. It added that the funding is also open to projects that improve various proof systems, enhance efficiency and user-friendliness of ZK Domain Specific Languages (DSLs), and create security benchmarks for ZK Rollups (ZKRs) and bridges.

Additionally, teams can explore the development of tools and interfaces for ZK and validity-proof based Layer 2 solutions, creating transpilers between zkDSL and Solidity, and investigating hardware acceleration for ZK protocols.

All proposals are expected to be submitted in PDF format, English language, with detailed descriptions, budgets, timelines, an applicant profile, and a link to published work. Eligible projects must be open source, align with the round’s goals, and benefit the Ethereum ZK Layer 2 ecosystem as public goods.

Evaluation criteria include impact on the Ethereum ZK Layer 2 ecosystem, value to multiple Layer 2 solutions, documentation clarity, and proposing individual or team experience. 

Ethereum Foundation revealed that ineligible projects involve illegal activities, financial products or services, art or social impact initiatives, retroactive funding requests, and those planning token launches or public funding rounds.

Read also; Coinbase responds to SEC regarding Grayscale Ether Trust ETP

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